What Is The Definition Of Hurdling In Track & Field?
1. Hurdling is a type of race in which a runner or sprinter must pass a number of obstacles within their lane. The standard hurdle races are the 110M for men, 100M for women, 400M for both, and the steeplechase, which is a 3,000 m race with different barriers from the other races. All hurdle races, excluding the steeplechase, are run in lanes with 10 hurdles placed equidistant throughout.
How Does Hurdling Work?
First, runners approach the hurdle with a standard stride. A few feet before the hurdle, the runner pushes off of their non-dominant foot while simultaneously kicking their dominant foot, or lead leg, up.
As the non-dominant foot, or trail leg, pulls in following the lead leg, it rotates out to the side from the hip so that it is close to perpendicular to the body. Then, the lead leg lands while the trail leg wraps back down and into the next stride.
The goal of hurdling is to disrupt the natural stride as little as possible while clearing the hurdle. A slightly different technique is used for hurdles in the steeplechase.
How High Are The Hurdles?
The height of each hurdle depends on the race and the racers’ gender.
For men, the 110M hurdle height is 42 in. (106.7 cm) high, and the 400M hurdle height is 36 in. (91.4 cm) high.
For women, the 100M hurdle height is 33.1 in. (84 cm) high, and the 400M hurdle height is 30 in. (76.2 cm) high.
Is It Okay To Switch Feet While Hurdling?
Most athletes prefer one foot over the other. Because professional hurdlers complete races based on specific step counts and stride lengths, some athletes might shorten or lengthen their stride consistently so that one leg remains the lead leg.
However, other athletes may have no preference or performance difference between using one leg versus the other. This ability is especially useful in the 110M/100M hurdles, as the shorter distance between hurdles necessitates more precision in step count and stride to maximize speed.
Is Hurdling Dangerous?
Hurdling is not inherently dangerous. The hurdles are designed to fall backwards with slight force so that a runner can continue on if they make contact with the hurdle. Most falls occur at high speeds and without proper form, technique, or practice.
Are Runners Disqualified If A Hurdle Is Knocked Down?
Runners are able to knock over as many or as few hurdles without penalty. Since hitting a hurdle slows runners down, clearing the hurdles typically leads to faster race times.
However, officials may penalize runners for knocking down hurdles with their hands or avoiding a hurdle with part of their body.
Do Hurdlers Need To Be Tall?
Height works to the advantage of some racers because an assured clearance allows for more technical flaws while still clearing the hurdle. Instead of focusing on precision of the hurdling motion, taller hurdlers can place more focus on speed.
Why Is The 110M Hurdles Not 100M?
When the women’s 80M hurdles transitioned to 100M, officials wanted to keep the spacing of the hurdles similar to the 80M while still adding two hurdles, to make the women’s and men’s hurdle count the same. To do this, they kept the women’s race slightly shorter at 100M instead of 110M.